Bristol City Council retrains bosses to boost diversity

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image copyrightBristol Live
image captionThe council was found to be institutionally racist in an independent review

All 800 hiring managers at a council have been retrained to overcome unconscious bias in a major drive to tackle institutional racism.

Bristol City Council has taken action after a review confirmed systemic racism was deep-rooted in its culture.

Head of HR Mark Williams said another priority was "improving the diversity of senior leadership".

A report presented to councillors found hiring rates for 16-24-year-olds had fallen despite a rise in applications.

The council's Human Resources Committee was told recruitment had fallen by around a third in 2020 compared to the previous year due to the pandemic.

A fall in the number of 16-24-year-olds being hired, despite more people from that age bracket applying for jobs, was put down to increased competition for jobs in a "tightening" labour market.

'Attracting diverse talent'

Despite this, Mr Williams said managers now use "targeted strategies to ensure we get the best possible field but we attract the most diverse talent".

"We have really revised and updated our information on our job pages to make that even more focused on the diversity of the city," he added, reported the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Resourcing manager Elouise Wilson said unconscious bias training was to make sure "managers were aware of their biases and how to ensure that doesn't creep into the recruitment process".

The report also said managers can now take "positive action" in interview tie-break situations to appoint candidates with protected characteristics, such as race, gender or age, which are under-represented in specific workgroups. 

Members welcomed the "positive progress" when the report was presented on 17 December, but Liberal Democrat Gary Hopkins said the "catch-all" category of BAME should be broken down so that trends for different ethnic groups could be analysed.

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